Top 10 Giants who could be upset early
March, 11, 2011
By Peter Keating | ESPN.com
Don McPeak/US PresswireJeffery Taylor and Vanderbilt should be on upset alert in the tournament's first two rounds.After giving you the lowdown Thursday on the most likely teams to pull off upsets against the big boys, we're now moving on to which Giants are candidates for first-round losses and which look safe, according to our statistical model. (What's a Giant? Simply an NCAA tournament team that's not a potential Giant Killer -- check out our methodology, for free, right here.)
Before we get into the numbers, here's the big picture: Giants are very, very lucky with the way the NCAA tournament field is breaking in 2011. Our model suggests four to 12 big-school teams are vulnerable to early upsets, an historically huge number. But because of quirks in seedings and matchups specific to this year, the number of actual Goliaths isn't likely to be anywhere near that high.
For one thing, because it was a down year for the power conferences in general, mid-majors will probably send their best teams to better-than-usual seeds -- all the way up to 8s and 9s for schools that will be favorites and near-favorites in the first round. And if those teams win once, their reward in the second round -- and their first contests as deep underdogs and potential Giant Killers -- will be games against No. 1 seeds in the second round. The George Mason Patriots, Old Dominion Monarchs, UNLV Rebels and Utah State Aggies are all among our top 10 potential Killers, but could all face this fate. If you're a shaky Giant like the Arizona Wildcats or Florida Gators, you probably won't have to face one of these lethal 'dogs. The Pittsburgh Panthers or Kansas Jayhawks will be doing your dirty work for you.